An evolution from the brights of new modern to the soothing salves of tea rose, lavender and grey.
For anyone with an obsession with all things house and home, the dominant palette for this year will already be lingering in your awareness in soothing swathes of tea rose, grey, peach, blush, lavender and mint.
As we get ready to close up shop for the Christmas break both here in Charlbury and in Nairobi, we can’t quite believe that another year has whistled by. To say it has been a whirlwind would be something of an understatement and it’s only now that we have really had the time to take stock of all that has happened in twelve quick months
Back in March this year, Camilla travelled across Kenya to meet the Ngurunit Weavers Group, the collective of 150 women who produce our beautiful Pambo Palm beaded baskets. It’s vitally important for us to get to know the people behind our baskets, to hear their stories and to see first-hand how they live and work. And, ultimately, to bring these stories to our customers: the people who bring these baskets home. Closing the gap between maker and buyer keeps the supply chain transparent, and is the key to truly ethical, fair trade.
So here's the story. It all begins in a village called Ngurunit.
Ngurunit lies at the foot of the Ndoto Mountains, close to the arid Korante Plain and the Kaisut Desert. Drought is widespread here and livestock are dying. Food relief (a government scheme) is currently in action in Ngurunit, where livestock owners are incentivised to slaughter and feed from their own cattle by being paid the cash value of the animal. This is done to save animals from starving and going to waste, and to feed the people without families losing their precious investment.
The weavers are semi-nomadic pastoralists (herding camels, cattle, sheep and goats) known collectively as Ariaal: not fully Samburu nor fully Rendille but a rich mixture of the two tribes. The Ariaal people are known for their peaceful ways and their openness to compromise, merging characteristics from both traditions - in house building, in bead making and in handicrafts – and they speak the two tribal languages interchangeably.
The woven, beaded baskets they produce are possibly the best metaphor for this rich, multifaceted culture: the tight and traditional basket weaving technique developed by the Rendille tribe is complemented by the bold coloured, delicate beaded embellishments seen in Samburu tribal necklaces and headdresses.
These tightly woven baskets were traditionally created by the Rendille people as vessels for collecting camels’ milk. When made solely for this purpose, baskets were sealed with a camel colostrum coating on the inside and then regularly treated with wood smoke to keep them free from milk-spoiling microbes.
But as plastic and metal jugs became readily available for collecting milk, the production of these baskets fell into decline and became an almost entirely forgotten art form until only very recently. It was in 2001 that access to market was achieved and these baskets found a place in the modern home as practical and attractive fruit bowls, bread baskets, planters and dressing table baskets.
So whilst these baskets are structurally influenced by the Rendille, their beads are borrowed from Samburu culture. The multi-coloured layers of beaded collars, headdresses and earrings worn by the Samburu women denote not only marital status but also other clues as to a woman’s rank within the tribe. Beads, buttons and sequins in different colours can signify anything from her husband’s wealth to how many sons she has birthed.
Yet despite all of this patriarchal symbolism, life has changed considerably for Aarial women in recent years. In this rural region of Kenya where milk is precious currency, women are now allowed to own milk-producing camels as well as milk itself. These delicately beaded baskets are symbols of empowerment for tribal women, and income from weaving helps mothers buy food and pay for school fees and transportation.
In purchasing a Pambo Palm basket you support the livelihoods of the Ngurunit people and become a guardian of this precious craft. Have a browse and shop the collection right here.
For more pictures from the trip click here.
We’re thrilled to announce the joyous arrival of our hand woven Moses baskets, ethically hand made in Northern Ghana. Keep a close eye on little one while they nap by bringing one of these exquisite Moses baskets home.
We've teamed up with Thought to give you the chance of winning a £100 voucher to spend on their AW17 collections.
Considered, contemporary style is what Thought do best. They craft timeless clothing from natural, sustainable yarns. They hand-sketch their artisanal prints in-house. And they return to nature for inspiration time and again.
Thought believe in easy-to-wear clothes. They use natural fabrics; like bamboo, hemp and organic cotton. Sustainable and organic clothing is important to them. Because they want to create fashion that fits your lifestyle.
The competition is open from Monday 23rd October until midnight on Sunday 29th October. Simply enter below and cross your fingers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Londoner Xanthe Berkeley caught our eye on Instagram some time ago. She’s a filmmaker and photographer with a thing for bold colour, the great outdoors, and pedalling around London on her famous yellow bike. We fell head over heels for the beautiful way she captures everyday moments: it speaks to our own appreciation for the art of slow living. And when Xanthe (pronounced Zan-thee) started using our APANA woven bicycle basket on her travels we fell in love a little bit more. Here are some snippets from a long overdue catchup…
*HEAT KLAXON* Summer has LANDED! Whether you're off on your holidays soon or staying on home turf and doing the festival circuit this summer (and why not when the weather’s like this?) we'd love to see where you're taking your woven basket bags.
We’re proudly supporting Fashion Revolution next week, because we wholeheartedly believe that fashion should feel good. Did you know that today only half of the 219 biggest fashion brands in the world know which factories their products are manufactured in? Or that only 25% of these big labels know where the zippers, buttons, threads and fabrics that make their clothes came from?